[EDITORIALS]Going to the bullpen

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[EDITORIALS]Going to the bullpen

The Kim Dae-jung administration has added the economic leadership of Jeon Yun-churl, as a deputy prime minister, and Lee Ki-ho, as the newly created ministerial-level senior adviser to the president for economy, welfare and labor. The appointments made Monday were overshadowed by the Air China crash, but the importance of the new officials' mandate are by no means insignificant.

The economic team led by Mr. Jeon is seen as a closer on a baseball pitching staff that is expected to record a save. Their job is to bring the administration's economic programs to a closure and hand those programs over to the next administration. This game began in the midst of the Asian financial crisis in early 1998, with the home team losing and the odds against them to win. The pace of the game is vastly different today because we are now concerned about the economy overheating. The last thing a reliever wants to do in the game at this point is to be too ambitious and let an almost-won outing slip away. It is worth remembering how the closer slated to finish the game five years ago, Kang Kyong-shik, eventually brought the game down with him. It is worth heeding the business community's reminder that, especially in the midst of political campaigns, continuity in economic policy must be ensured.

The priority in the final months should be in the flexible management of a macroeconomic policy and in the completion of reform programs that have already started. The failure of a macroeconomic policy is often in the execution, not from misjudging the policy direction entirely. Now that the government knows it wants to fine-tune the pace of recovery, what the government needs is to find the right policy mix to make an effective administration. In the reform agenda, the focus should be on pressing forward with public sector and labor reform. An urgency mounted following the railway and power utility strike, in which we saw vulnerability in the public sector and labor reform when they coincided with political campaigns. The importance of teamwork within the economic portfolio will be highlighted more than ever in these final innings.
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